Junkyard Find: 1979 MGB

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

As a former MGB commuter, I always feel a certain sadness when I see one of British Leyland’s underpowered little sports cars about to get eaten by The Crusher. The B was a surprisingly sturdy car of very simple construction, but sales were undermined by terrible build quality, a primitive pushrod engine, and electrical components made by the Prince of Darkness. These cars show up frequently in self-service wrecking yards, as abandoned project MGBs are expelled from driveways and back yards; we’ve seen this ’71, this ’75, and this Toyota-engined ’79 in this series, and today we’ll look at a very used-up ’79 that I spotted in a California yard.

Like most junkyard MGBs (and Fiat 124 Sport Spiders), a missing convertible top means the interior has been ravaged by the elements.

The SU carburetors and some of the accessories have been plucked, but the engine itself is almost certainly destined for a steel factory. Hey, is that an aftermarket tube header?

Radiator fans made by Joe Lucas. No comment.

Let’s hope that some of these parts live on in a streetworthy MGB.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jul 22, 2013

    I have planned to buy a weekend roadster but have always pondered which one. Do I go for the Fiat Spyder with it's Fix it again Tony rep. Or do I go for the MGB and be haunted by Lucas, the Prince of Darkness? Or ditch both and decline myself the pleasure of wrenching them most weekends and buy a 1st gen Miata. Decisions, decisions.

    • -Nate -Nate on Jul 22, 2013

      Me ; I'm old & set in my ways , I'd buy the older MGB , sort it properly (few ever are) and run the wheels off it . That being said , I well remember my Son and I screaming up and down the twisty canyons in his Miata , top down and ice cold AC blowing in our faces..... Life is good , buy the Miata and enjoy it . -Nate

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jul 22, 2013

    I'm more interested in that first-gen 9000 back there. I'm also always distracted when I see that late 80's version of the 500SEL. That design is always going to look elegant and monied.

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